The Citylife team has collected the information below via intense research in collaboration with Proyecto Océano, one of Madrid’s most known legal associations. Please keep in mind that we are not directly related to any legal or government departments and the information may be subject to change.

[Pincha aquí para la versión en español]

If you’re not from Spain, but are living or planning on moving here, then you will most likely need to have at least one of the following documents. There are different documents required to live, study and work legally whilst in Spain. This articles outlines all you need to know about the NIE/TIE, Empadronamiento, and Social Security Number.

What are these legal documents anyways?

    • Empadronamiento: The Empadronamiento is an official document stating where you live. This will make you a citizen of the city in which you reside, and will be needed in many cases (especially if you are not a citizen of the EU or equivalent) to apply for any other paperwork like the TIE etc.
    • NIE/TIE: The NIE (‘Número de Identidad de Extranjero’) is a number of identification assigned to any non-Spaniard who lives in Spain. It is necessary to carry out any procedures with administration services, to contract products and services, and ultimately to provide your identity number. EU citizens (or equivalent*) might need to apply for the NIE depending on the criteria in the graph outlined below (click on it)! The TIE (‘Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero’) is the identity card that all citizens of Non EU member countries (or equivalent*) have to apply for once they arrive in Spain. This identity card will contain a photo in addition to your NIE proving your identity and recognizing you legally.  So as a Non EU citizen you will need to apply for the TIE once in Spain, not the NIE!
    • Social Security Number: This is required to legally work or do a paid internship in Spain. You will need to request the so called “número de afiliación” so that your employer can request your social security number.

NIE/TIE application problems – prepare for a challenge!

Local registrations in Spain tend to be very complex & confusing especially due to language barriers, incomplete & contradicting information online as well as the constant absence of online appointments.

MTS Relocation Spain – help is on the way!

Over the years we have witnessed the hassle when it comes to applying for your NIE/TIE. So we know exactly what frustration and stress it tends to create and what it means to you personally. That’s why we created a brand called MTS Relocation Spain, a specialized provider in relocation and legal topics.

If you would like to avoid a bumpy start of your Madrid experience, get in touch with MTS. This way you get your NIE/TIE, Empadronamiento or Social Security Number processed on time and without hassle. There are also discounted rates for international students available! Click here for more information!

To this day we at Citylife Madrid and MTS are proud of our 100% satisfaction rate from our clients. Which is why we can assure you, without a doubt, that we will be able to help you as well.

How to get NIE/TIE on your own

If you would like to give it a try and do it yourself, the graph below outlines the legal requirements depending on your personal situation. Click on the links to get to the detailed instructions!

The following criteria defines, if you need one or more of the documents mentioned at the very beginning of this article:

  • From a EU-member country or not
  • Length of your stay in Spain
  • Purpose of your stay in Spain:
    • Studies / unpaid internship
    • Work / paid internship
  • Carrying out operations with tax repercussions

If you are a citizen of the European Union or equivalent*, click here to find out what to do next. If you are a Non-EU citizen or equivalent*, please check here and follow the instructions.

* EU citizens and equivalent refers to: Citizens of the European Union (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Holland , Hungary , Ireland , Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania and Sweden), the European Economic Area (Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway) and Switzerland.

Do you have other legal questions/topics you need assistance with?

Please fill out the form below and your query will be sent to us as well as to our friends at Proyecto Océano, one of Madrid’s most known legal associations, who are also here to help you out! Please note: By sending the form below, you automatically agree that we can forward your data to Proyecto Océano as well as MTS Relocation Spain.

First Name / Nombre

Last Name / Apellido

Nationality / Nacionalidad

Estimated Date of Arrival in Madrid (DD.MM.YYYY) / Fecha Estimada de Llegada

Duration of Stay in Spain (in months) / Duración de estancia (en meses)

Your Email / Tu correo electrónico

Current Residence? / Lugar actual de Residencia

What city in Spain will you move to? / A qué ciudad en España te vas a mudar?

What will you do in Spain? / Que vas a a hacer en España?

Are you moving to Spain alone or with your family? / Te mudas a España solo o con tu familia?

Do you have family already living in Spain? / Tienes familia ya viviendo en España?

Additional Comments & Questions / Comentario adicionales y preguntas

He leído y acepto la Política de Privacidad / I have read and accept the the Privacy Statement!



17 comments. Leave new

Markus Winter
08/08/2014 00:35

Thanks for all this useful information! I didn’t find it on the web and here I got it in a simple and structured way:-)

Leah Warner
08/08/2014 08:01

That’s great to here Markus! I am so glad we were able to help 🙂

You really make it seem really easy together with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I believe I might never understand. It seems too complex and very extensive for me. I am taking a look forward on your subsequent put up, I will try to get the cling of it!

Leah Warner
20/09/2014 18:40

If you need any help with applying for Empadronamiento or Nie documents you can contact us any time!!

Generally I don’t learn article on blogs, however I would like
to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it!

Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, very nice article.

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Howdy! This post couldn’t be written much better!
Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
He always kept preaching about this. I most certainly will forward this information to
him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

It´s very important to have some friend here in Spain. We can do easily all forms, specially if we come from European Union.

how to check the status of Empadronamiento? i will be glad if u can help me out

Hi Sohel!

The Empadronamiento is a document which you get on the same day of your appointment. They do everything with you right there and then hand you the paper :). If you move, you should apply for a new one under the new address and if you haven’t moved in 2 years you should renew the Empadronamiento :).

Hope this helped!

Hello! I have a few questions. I’m not from the European Union, so what will happen if I apply than 30 days? Also, is it important in which immigration department I make an appointment or it can be any??

Hey Marina!
I’m assuming you’re talking about applying for the NIE? I can’t speak in absolutes, but it seems that as long as you at least have the appointment within or around the first 30 days you will be fine. You will need to make the appoint online, and they will provide you with a list of locations where you can have the appointment!

22/08/2017 14:16

How do I apply to get a social security number does it have to be in the city in where I am “empadronada” I have a Nie and empadronada in Andalucía but currently in Madrid and need to figure out how to get a social security number

Hey there Alejandra!

To my knowledge you can apply for the social security anywhere!

Hi Leah,

Your article is super helpful, i really appreciate your effort. I have two questions i hope can be answered.

1. I have my student visa and NIE, but i want to work part time as a model. Can my student NIE which is more than 6 month apply for a social security number and work legally?

2. For my empadronada, i don’t have the rental contract and even proof for monthly payment. Because i just found a place on idealista and the main host doesn’t live there. I pay cash to my roommate which he hand them to the casero, Can i still get empadronada?

Hi there,

I have been in Madrid for the last 6 months and have just realized a massive mistake that I made.

When I got to Madrid and saw in my passport that I had my NIE number, and thought that was all I needed. I didn’t actually go and convert it into the NIE card.

My visa has now expired as of today, although I applied for an extension around 6 weeks ago.

I have been accepted to continue my studies at my university here (same program. I am not changing) and they provided me all the documents that i’d require, but the biggest issue was that I didn’t convert my visa NIE number into an actual card.

Am I going to need to return to my home country (Canada) in order to reapply?? This is super stressful.

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